Moral Policing
The incident that was caught on camera took place near Bengaluru’s HSR Layout.

“You must follow Indian rules. Please wear proper clothes,” a man can be heard saying to a mobile camera. The man shooting the video, who is clearly outraged, questions the moral policing and says, “I know the Constitution? Do you know the Constitution? We have the freedom to wear whatever we want.” This video was shot near Bengaluru’s HSR Layout, where a couple was stopped and subjected to moral policing by a passerby.

The 28-year-old techie from Mumbai was targeted by an unidentified man, who began telling her that she must “wear proper clothes”. The incident that occurred on Thursday night was caught on camera and later uploaded on Facebook.

At around 10 pm on Thursday, the woman, a resident of HSR Layout, was out shopping with her boyfriend. The couple was returning home on their two-wheeler when a stranger on another scooter allegedly stopped them.

Speaking to TNM, the woman, who does not want to be named, says, “I heard someone yelling. I was riding pillion and I looked to my right side. There was a man on a two-wheeler, who began yelling at me and said, ‘Don’t you have any clothes at home?' When I asked him what his problem is, he began yelling at me, saying that Indian women must not wear ‘such’ clothes. I was wearing shorts and a T-shirt. I don’t see what the problem is."

Her boyfriend, who is also a resident of HSR Layout, parked his bike near the sidewalk and demanded that the man, too, get off his bike. He then started shooting the video.

“My boyfriend began questioning him and when the man realised that we were shooting the whole thing, he lowered his voice and became polite. But he did not stop telling me that I must not wear such clothes and that it's ‘Indian rules’. My boyfriend yelled back; he told him that we are free to choose what we wear and he has no right to tell me what to wear,” she added.

The woman says that the man allegedly kept telling her to change her clothes. “Maybe he expected us to be scared. I also told him that I would go to the police. That’s when he got back on his bike and fled,” she says.

She said that she wanted to file a police complaint but strongly feels that the police would not support her. “Even the police have the same mindset. If I went to them, they would probably ask me to wear other clothes too, so I did not file a complaint,” she says.

This is not the first time such an incident has been reported in Bengaluru. In May this year, four men who decided to play moral police, harassed a woman and attacked her boyfriend in Banaswadi, when they went for a ride at night. The men waylaid the couple and asked them what they were up to at midnight. When the man, Kiran Kumar, told them it was none of their business, the gang attacked them by throwing a stone at Kiran’s head and they allegedly molested the woman.

In March this year, students from Christ College had complained to DCP Isha Pant, alleging that women police officers were moral policing students in the locality.